On studying at ITMO

How did you choose where to study after finishing high school? And why did you decide to apply to ITMO?

When I finished my physics and mathematics lyceum, I thought about going either to ITMO University or Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University. In fact, I didn’t have a dream major or grand goals, so I just followed my liking for exact sciences. 

I ended up choosing between physics and computer science. Frankly speaking, I didn’t really want to study physics because I had a hard time with it in school. That’s why I turned to IT and information security specifically. It was something new, interesting, and promising. I looked up the schools and went to open days at universities. 

I can’t say that there was something special about ITMO’s open days even though I was there twice. But I happened to talk to one of my friends who was older than me and already studied at the university. He told me about extracurricular activities and semester exchanges, and I decided to apply. I knew I was going to get in, and now I’m here. 

Anna Voloshina when she graduated from her Bachelor’s program. Photo courtesy of the subject

Anna Voloshina when she graduated from her Bachelor’s program. Photo courtesy of the subject

What was your experience like?

The university offers high-quality education. Here, you stay current and work with young specialists from major companies, businesses, and even military establishments. For example, we had classes with the head of the Central Bank Information Security Department. So, if you really want to succeed in your field, this is an excellent boost.

From amongst the highlights of my time here, I’d mention the cool lab class where we had to steal a password from a person who is on our network (laughs). 

But, of course, things are different at university. Nobody forces you to learn. The university is a starting point for the future where you build your view of the world, gain new opportunities, life experiences, and new friendships. It’s more than just studying. But what you get out of it depends fully on you. If you want to succeed, then you should work hard in your field but if you don’t, you will get just the minimum you need to graduate. 

And yet you decided to change your major to technological management and innovations, right?

Sadly, I didn’t enjoy the field that much. Yet I fell in love with event management and switched to marketing.

Work and study

So your studies allowed you to also become actively involved in the social life of the university?

Yes, I organized many student events. That was my goal. When I had just enrolled, I began to actively google the university and came across a bunch of videos from university competitions and concerts. And I really wanted to be a part of it.

Already in my first year, I got into a special course where I learned about the principles of organizing events and the types of extracurricular and volunteer activities. There, one of the organizers noticed me and I got the chance to organize my first festival in the next semester. Then, I did volunteer events for some time and went to brand projects.

That’s how you got into ITMO’s Strategic Communications Department, right? 

Yes, I suppose it is. For four or five years, I was responsible for numerous events, including ITMO.MEGABATTLE and the Mister and Miss ITMO contest at the St. Petersburg Music Hall. After that, I started to organize events outside the university. 

Mister and Miss ITMO 2019

Mister and Miss ITMO 2019

Then, the pandemic hit and I couldn’t find a job. I started again in the summer and found ITMO’s opening for a digital specialist. I applied for the job, passed the interview and test, and got into the Event Management Office. 

Is working at the university a temporary decision?

No actually, it’s my full-time job. I had always wanted to work in this sphere, so it was an excellent opportunity for me. I was interested in creating online projects and making content, and it’s amazing that I can do that at ITMO. I love my university and I know its target audience. It’s great that ITMO supports new ideas and gives its students and employees opportunities for development. 

What are you currently working on?

At the moment, we’re working on the new admission campaign and recently released a video depicting its motto – Choose ITMO and don’t choose at all!

We also prepare events for our soon-to-be students. Last year, there was ITMO.Enter and this year, we plan to spice it up a bit. In August, the updated version of  ITMO.Enter will continue to help our new students learn more about ITMO and its opportunities. 

Studies and hobbies

Did you take any extra classes or participate in student clubs during your studies?

Yes, I also received a diploma in professional translations. So to say, I jumped at the opportunity that ITMO offers to its students. Starting from my third year, I had evening classes three times a week and now I have a diploma. 

Why did you decide to take this course?

I love English and even took the exam in school. Well, I just wanted to try (laughs).

And what did you think about the classes? 

At first, I thought it was a waste of time. Some people barely spoke English. However, after a few years, they improved their skills. Then, classes became more interesting. We started to study jargon and translation peculiarities in a certain field. We often worked individually, read specialized books, and prepared reviews. As a result, we enlarged our vocabulary and learned to express ourselves in our professional sphere.

Did you have any other hobbies?

I like to draw and sometimes I even take orders for portraits or clothing prints.

Choose ITMO and don’t choose at all

You perfectly represent ITMO’s new motto. You studied information security and then marketing, worked, and learned English. Was it hard to balance? 

Not at all. One of the tasks for the Top Graduate contest was to make a post about what ITMO means to us. And I thanked the university for all the mistakes I made along the way. Here, you’re not afraid to fail. 

Young people make mistakes and I’m no exception. Once, I chose the wrong major and job but here you understand that it’s okay. If you don’t like something, try something else. It’s important to bear in mind because it’s hardly possible to make the right choice when you just finished school. I know only one person who decided to become a doctor in the eighth grade and is now graduating from a medical university with honors. I admire her. Everybody else had their doubts. But the main thing is that I don't know anyone who regrets studying at ITMO. 

Anna Voloshina at the ceremony award for the best graduates of St. Petersburg’s universities in 2021

Anna Voloshina at the ceremony award for the best graduates of St. Petersburg’s universities in 2021

You became a top graduate of ITMO and also received the award for one of the best graduates of St. Petersburg. What do these titles mean to you?

They are a very nice bonus for the hard work. But maybe not so for my hard work but for my key traits – perseverance and diligence. The award wasn't my goal. I simply did what I liked and tried to do it well. However, it's nice to be appreciated.  

What memories will you have of your university?

I’ll cherish my student years. And even now, when I look back, I have only good memories of studying at ITMO and I also understand how much had happened. I think that with time I will miss even more.